Thursday, August 16, 2012

Indian Runner Ducks: Week Five

As the Runners grow taller and fuller they require more nutrients than what their starter feed offers. This past week we have switched up their feeding routine to mimic their upcoming garden schedule.  Ducklings more than chicks require an ample amount of Niacin (B3) and Calcium in their diets. You can simply give them a water soluble "multi-vitamin" or you can supplement their diet using whole foods. Tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, carrots and nutritional yeast are just some of the niacin rich foods that ducks can eat. Without ample niacin ducks can experience a lack of growth and have a difficult time metabolizing their feed for energy which in turn gives them weak muscles, especially in their legs. Calcium is also an important addition to their diets right now so we have been giving them a treat of yogurt with live cultures. As they grow older niacin and calcium are important supplements for egg laying as well. Their daily "duck-feast" is a mash-up of dry pellet starter feed, a large ripe tomato, 4 scoops of Nutritional yeast and a green leafy vegetable, mixed with some water, yogurt and feed. They LOVE it.
These ducks (the ladies) and drakes (the gents) grow up fast and as they await their entry to their home in the garden I can't help but be a bit sentimental. Just this morning I was remembering the first night we had them - so small and vulnerable! - their little chirps and leg stretching, first swims and first feathers, quacks and individual personalities. A.J. is still the biggest and is most definitely the flock leader (pictured above in the pool in the middle) and Ressie is in the front on the right. Also on the Duck Front we will begin construction of their new home "Fort Knox" over the next few days. We are very excited to have them part of our garden community and community at large, we know that they will make a wonderful addition not only to the garden but for educational purposes within the community as well. Many people inside and outside of our garden community have offered their support (from vet care to solar heating!) and have volunteered their time to care for the ducks. It takes a village after all! And we are one committed village...